Luton Magistrates’ Court heard that on 19 July 2018, the victim was laying a High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) foul sewer pipe weighing 20 tonnes with three other operatives who were positioned along a 240m trench to lift and drag the pipe.
One of the slings being used to pull the pipe failed catastrophically causing a bow shackle linkage to be catapulted back towards the machine cab operator.
The employee was hit in the leg by the solid metal shackle, which weighed 7.5kg causing multiple fractures that needed extensive surgery.
An HSE investigation found that the company had failed to ensure that the operation was safely planned and carried out, with appropriate supervision in place.
Smith Construction Group Limited of Kingston, Milton Keynes pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £55,440 and ordered to pay costs of £971.80.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Rauf Ahmed said: “This incident could have been avoided if the dutyholders had assessed the risks of the load handling operation and put appropriate safety measures in place.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”